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Dan C., DVM
Dan C., DVM, Horse Veterinarian
Category: Horse Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1180
Experience:  Solo Equine Practitioner/Mobile Practice Owner for 16 years.
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My race horse is losing her tail hair

Customer Question

Hi Doctor my name is ***** ***** my race horse is losing her tail hair
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Horse Veterinary
Expert:  Dan C., DVM replied 2 years ago.
Greetings Shirley: My apologies for the delay. I just got online and noticed that Dr. Darren wasn't available, and certainly didn't want you to have to wait any longer.
Sorry to hear about Written Honour's tail condition. Tail rubbing can have multiple causes, so I'd like to ask a few questions of you please, so that I may give you a thorough answer.
1): How long has she been rubbing her tail?
2): Is she itchy anywhere else on her body?
3): Does she rub the tail raw, to the point of raw and bleeding skin?
4): Is the rubbing mostly at the base (the very top) of her tail?
5): Have you tried any topical or oral medications to relieve the itching?
6): Does the rubbing occur during certain seasons or weather?
7): When was Writen Honour last dewormed, and which product did you use?
Thanks, ***** ***** looking forward to hearing from you. I will be out working for the majority of the afternoon, but I will check for your responses as soon as I return.
-Dan C.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
she is not rubbing her tail - Not itchy anywhere else - Tail is not rubbed raw - she does not appear to be itchy in the tai or anus area - no medications have been used -- was last wormed 1/6 and then again 1/7 - not sure what wormer used - had the vet call to check her - couldn't see anything wrong (pinworms) took her blood and it came back clear only to show was a slightly raised muscle enzymes -
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Forgot to say her tail grown to about 12 inches then doesn't grow any longer and her existing tail is getting thinner and thinner and does not seem to grow
Expert:  Dan C., DVM replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for getting back to me Shirley.
I guess I misunderstood your question, as I just assumed that the hair loss was due to her scratching. It sounds as if your Vet did all the right things, looking for pinworms, etc., along with your deworming protocol. But with your further information, it doesn't sound like a parasite issue. We may be looking at a mineral deficiency, particularly Zinc, copper, biotin and/or selenium. Vitamin E can also help with haircoat issues as well.
Other uncommon causes of this condition can be a result of over-washing the tail or excess use of conditioners, etc.
One diagnostic procedure that can be performed is to take a few hair samples of the tail (including the root) and have your Vet send it off to a lab for analysis. The analysis will entail the overall microscopic appearance of the shaft and root to see if all appears normal. There are some rather rare hair conditions that can affect certain phases of hair growth (telogen), and this can usually be noted by microscopic analysis. Consider discussing this option with your Vet.
If Written Honour isn't on any quality vitamin/mineral supplements, I'd recommend starting her on one also, with one that includes Biotin. Biotin is mostly recognized as a supplement for hoof strength, but it does help the hair coat as well.
So I hope that I've been of some help to you, and please let me know if you have any further questions, or if something is unclear. Best of luck with her, and let me know how she does if you find the time.
All the best,
Expert:  Dan C., DVM replied 2 years ago.
Hi Shirly:
Just checking to see if you have any further questions. I will be signing off for the night, but Ill check for any replies first thing in the morning.